Letter to the New World

Our Lord knows how much anxiety I have suffered wondering how you are. So these problems, though I may seem to make heavy weather of them, have been far worse in reality: so much so that they made me weary of life because of the great trouble I knew you must be in, in which you should think of me as united with you. Because although, to be sure, I have been away over here, I left and keep my heart over there, without a thought for any other thing, constantly, as our Lord is my witness; nor do I believe you will have any doubt of it in your heart. For besides our ties of blood and great love, the effects of fortune and the nature of danger and hardship in places far removed embolden and oblige man's spirit and sense to endure any trouble that can be imagined - there or in any other place. It would be a thing of great advantage if this suffering were to be endured for a cause which redounded to the service of our Lord, for whom we ought to labour with a joyful mind. Nor would it be other than a help to remember that no great deed can be accomplished except with pain. Again, it is some consolation to believe that whatever is achieved laboriously is treasured and esteemed far sweeter for it. Much could be said to the purpose, but as this is not the first cause for which you have suffered or which I have seen, I shall wait to speak of it with more time to spare, and by word of mouth.

Cristóbal Colón, from Spain, to his brother Bartolmé Colón in Hispaniola, February (?), 1498

in Columbus, Felipe Fernández-Armesto, OUP, 1991

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